Apple quietly releases iTunes 4.2

Apple has released a new version of iTunes. Version 4.2 includes the ability to sign in and buy music from the iTunes Music Store using either an AOL or Apple Account, view the iTunes Music Store in a separate window, and offers a number of performance improvements.


A new tag was introduced with this update, called grouping. It is a user-defined tag which enables better categorization. Usage possibilities range from sub categories of genres to classical movements. This should make for more flexibility with both smart playlists and general sorting.


by dfbills on Dec 19 | 12:34 am


Well, it took me all of 10 minutes to crash this new version of iTunes. Didn't even get to see the new tag! bummer.

The feature where you can open the music store in it's own window is really nice. I never thought they'd do that.

by musicpro on Dec 19 | 1:14 am

This update is much faster than the last version. I'm not seeing the frequent pauses when switching apps I experienced before.

They haven't fixed the random jumping selection bug though.

by dfbills on Dec 19 | 1:15 am

Does the grouping tag have an intended purpose? Or was it just added for users to use as they see fit? Just curious.

by SimpleMan46 on Dec 19 | 8:26 pm

It isn't clear to me at this point.

What is clear is that this version of iTunes runs terribly on my G3/500. I get static and musical slowdowns at the start of every song.

by dfbills on Dec 20 | 10:32 am

I just submitted this to Apple and MacFixit:

Since I upgraded to iTunes 4.2 and QuickTime 6.5 I'm hearing static and musical slowdowns. This occurs shortly after the start of each song during a flurry of disk activity.

I've tried turning off all extras (sound check, eq, cross fade, sound enhancer), running with no other apps open.. it hasn't fixed it. It happens with several sound types as well. So far I've seen it with mp3, aac, and streaming audio.

I'm running on a PowerBook G3/500 with 384megs of ram. I'm also seeing this less frequently on my PowerBook G4/800 with 1gig of ram. Both OS's are 10.3.2.

My work machine, a Dual G4 1.4gig with 2.0 gigs of ram would not exhibit this behavior even when opening 20+ apps, including photoshop, finalcut, and 4 virtualpc sessions, all while using safari to open a folder of tabbed pages.

by dfbills on Dec 20 | 11:00 am

The Grouping tag shows up in the Get Info window (as seen above), View Options (accesed by apple-j), and when you right click on the column headers in the iTunes window.

Apparently, the Grouping field is also saved in MP3 and AAC files. (vs. just in the Apple iTunes database file).

by dfbills on Dec 20 | 2:48 pm

Here we go: iTunes Mike (an Apple Employee working in Apple's Discussions) has posted:

Here's an example classical album: Mozart: Symphonies 40 & 41

The first tracks 1-4 are "Symphony 40", tracks 5-8 are "Symphony 41". You could use the Grouping field for the symphony, and you wouldn't need to have it in the track titles.

Grouping is not in CDDB, so you have to enter it manually.

More info here: Apple Discussions

by dfbills on Dec 20 | 2:50 pm

Thanks for the info David!

by SimpleMan46 on Dec 20 | 4:17 pm

I hacked a small applescript that gives you a selection box for categories like situations to listen to, instruments and languages. Find this on my http://homepage.mac.com/berbie page.

After all I love the grouping feature, if you use it the way I do now its like your own tony stone music database :-)

by Berbie on Dec 27 | 5:45 am


Very cool!

Have you ever seen the "Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes" website? If not, you should definitely get yours listed-


by dfbills on Dec 30 | 9:28 pm

Doug has posted information from the Apple Discussion Forum on this topic with the definitive answer on the grouping topic:

Posted by Lowell Stewart on 10:55am Jan 6, 2004 CDT

I was browsing through the iTunes music store, and noticed that the music store is already using the Grouping tag as [has been] indicated: Click on the banner ad for the "just added 1000 classical albums", and choose something from Deutsche Grammphon. I looked at Bach's Tocatta and Fugue BWV 565, etc. The track list for the CD shows disclosure triangles according to each track's Grouping tag.

This usage is probably not compatible with those of you trying to use Grouping as a sub-genre classification tool, but I think Comments could be used adequately for that.

The big question for me is, when will iTunes itself support the Grouping tag like the iTunes music store does?? (I was all excited to make my own classical CDs appear like this, but... they don't.)

Will better support for this be included in iTunes 5.0? Only time will tell...

by dfbills on Jan 15 | 12:02 am

Tracks from emusic.com seem to have genre info in the grouping tag..

I'm finding that quite a few of my tracks have "Jazz: Bebop" or something like that in the 'grouping' tag with a blank genre tag. They call it genre on their site, why didn't they use the genre tag??

Oh well, time for a new script.

For me, grouping is who was playing on the track: "John Coltrane, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones, McCoy Tyner"


by David Peterson on Mar 03 | 4:23 am

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